The Lion of Judah is a Metaphor, He’s Not a Real Lion

Was reading a book written in 1692 talking about Jesus Christ, the Lion of Judah. He was speaking primarily in regards to the intercession of Christ for believers and he says,

“They say, lions are insomnes, they have little or no sleep; it is true of the Lion of the tribe of Judah, he never slumbers nor sleeps, but watches over his church to defend it.”

I certainly agree about the assertions of Christ, but lions never sleep? Pastors are notorious for using false sermon illustrations, even pastors from the 17th century.

I’m willing to give him a pass on this one, the information available about lions in the 17th century is not what we have available today. A quick internet search tells us lions sleep up to 20 hours a day, which is about as far from insomne as you can get.

I will also give him a pass because he begins his statement with “they say.” Passes the buck to “they,” which is also a good pastor move.

Anyway, be careful out there. I’ve also discovered this guy’s verse references don’t always say what he says they say. When in doubt: check!

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One comment

  1. Frank Z.

    Jeff,

    We are, of course, curious as to which book you are reading!?

    I’ve thought lately about the description of Jesus as the “Lion of the tribe of Juda” (Rev. 5:5). This is easy to misunderstand. Normally peaceful animals are used to describe divinity: the dove, the lamb; whereas fierce beasts are used to describe the nations of this world: bear, leopard, dragon.

    However, in this case, a Lion (also used as a symbol of Babylon) is used to describe Christ. If we treat this too hastily, it would be easy to conclude that when Christ offers His gospel, He is a Lamb, and when He comes to punish those who refuse His gospel, He is a Lion. The problem with this, other than that it is not supported by the Bible, is that it lowers God’s character to that of earthly potentates. But Christ plainly stated that His “kingdom was not of this world,” and that in His kingdom, the rulers did not exercise lordship as in the kingdoms of the world.

    Also, the description of Christ as a Lion in Rev. 5, does not apply to His second coming, but to His victory on earth, especially the cross; which was a victory over sin (the world, the flesh, and the devil). Primarily it was holding to faith and obedience, for the sake of His Father and of the needy on earth, in the face of the most intense darkness and discouragement. This is how God’s “Lions” get their victories.